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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1323 ..

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, with all my colleagues here, I love this city of Canberra. I love the ACT. One of the prime reasons for that affection is its bush capital nature, the way the city absorbs the bush. It is a source of continuing wonder to me and of encouragement. The reason we have that is due very much to the work of Professor Pryor. He did so much for this city. I never met him in person, but I meet his spirit every time I move around this Territory and this city. I lived in O'Connor, so his trees were on my nature strip, front and side. I drove through O'Connor to come here, so I know Professor Pryor and I appreciate all that he has done.

We labour here to make some impact - we hope positive - on Canberra. Can any one of us say that we have made a greater impact than Professor Pryor? I do not think we can. His impact is beneficial, and it is enormous. Beyond that, the Minister spelt out his great distinction and his work in science. He achieved great things. He was a great Canberran. His passing is a loss, but his whole life here has brought great benefit. Canberra, very largely, is his monument. I join with colleagues here in expressing our sympathy to the family, but our thanks that we had him for so long.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care): Mr Speaker, in rising to join other members in extending my sympathy to the family of Professor Pryor, I would like to add a few things to those that have been said. On many occasions, publicly and also in this chamber, I have pointed out one of the most notable differences between Canberra and other cities. I do it by saying that if you fly into Sydney and you look down you will see terracotta roofs with a few trees. If you fly into Canberra and you look down you see trees with a few terracotta roofs. That is largely a contribution by Professor Pryor. That is my understanding of what he has done for our city and what he has done for the nation insofar as this city is the capital of our nation. We can stand here today and recognise the great work that has been done by somebody whom, I think, history will show to be a very great man.

I join with other members in extending my sympathy to the family of Professor Pryor, but also to this city and to our nation because he is a great loss to Australia.

MS TUCKER: I also rise to express sympathy to Professor Pryor's family and to honour his work. Mr Smyth has already outlined the significant contribution that he has made to this city and I would echo what other members have said - that it is, indeed, a very beautiful city that we live in. The natural landscape that it is situated in, plus how trees have been planted within the city area, have made it that way. It is good to be able to honour the work of a man who basically planted trees. I think the whole city and the community of Canberra will always be enriched by his work. Hopefully, in present decision-making, in planning decisions, we will be able to keep valuing our treescape in the ACT. I believe that it is under threat on occasions from proposals that come up. It is something of incredible value that does not always fit into the planning processes as strongly as I believe it should.

Professor Pryor, of course, was also open to bringing the native plants into Canberra. I understand that he did not get involved in the feuding between the exotics versus the natives, which was sensible. I do not either. There is obviously a place for both, although we might not totally agree with people here on quite what the balance should be.

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